Small DNG: A Workflow Breakthrough!

January 10, 2013 Posted in Customer Service

The Colorati DNG Hack


Here’s a quick video to illustrate the process from start to finish:


Using our service has always required transferring those bulky Raw files one way or another:

1) Shipping a hard drive -which is *super* reliable, but you have to package and ship.


2) FTP -which is convenient, but slow and sometimes unreliable due to the massive file sizes and limited upload speeds.

There’s been a recent update to Lightroom 4 that invokes some high level wizardry and we think it will blow your mind! It’s this little feature here called Lossy Compression when you select “DNG” in the Export menu.

Small DNG Export Settings

*****SUPER IMPORTANT!!!*****



Here’s the deal… when you choose this option to output your files, Lightroom crunches down the pixel dimensions and applies some other kind of deep magic that makes the files TINY yet retain near full flexibility of a Raw image.

Upload those files to us, we edit them as normal.

From everything we’ve read in the Adobe resources, yes it is using a form of JPEG compression, but amazingly retains the flexibility of a normal Raw file.

In our testing, we had great editing success and found these files to be more than sufficient for our Standard and even our Custom services. Once we’re done editing, we work some magic of our own to extract a new batch of XMPs for you to match up with your original Raw files.

The best part is, once the new XMP file is matched up, the full potential of the Raw file is restored.

The geeky details:

Original DNG and Small DNG file size comparison

We found that a Raw file of 30 MB becomes a Small DNG of about 745 KB. AMAZING! That means for an average order of 700 files for a wedding, you go from 20 Gigs to 521 MB! Sounds way too good to be true, but we want you to try it!

If you happen to be a Bridge user, don’t worry! All you’ve got to do is run your images through the latest DNG converter which is a free download from Adobe. (Windows | Mac)

The same process applies, just use these settings below and you’re golden!Small DNG settings for DNG Converter

We think this is a really slick workflow hack and in our testing have seen amazing results both for the quality of editing and the speed of uploads.

If you are interested in trying this method on your next order, output your files and upload here:

Just don’t forget to fill out an order form!


PS: If matching up XMPs in Lightroom or Bridge is not on your radar yet, please see the following blog posts:

Lightroom Tutorial: How to prep and send to Colorati

Lightroom User? Want faster delivery? Choose XMPs! 

Using XMPs with Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw

2 comments on “Small DNG: A Workflow Breakthrough!

  1. philippe on said:

    Would the xmp import work if I have DNG Files as opposed to the original Raw format (CR2 in my case)? If so, how does that work gin that DNG don’t save XMP files? it’s the only reason I am still keeping the original RAW format, otherwise I would convert all my files to DNG.
    Thanks, p

    • Hey Philippe!

      Great question! If you converted your original Raw files into DNGs and those are what you’re using as your new master files, the answer is no- the XMPs will not work. :( The Small DNGs we have you produce are from the original CR2s or NEFs and are deleted after you upload the files to us.

      Hope that helps bring some clarity! Be in touch if you have any other questions!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Black Friday Freedom! 40% Discount

Hey All! We hope you’ve been having a great year so far and it’s a great time for some extra relaxation! To help you spend more time with your family this year, let Colorati help you with any leftover Summer …

Read more

The Best Memory Card Transfer System

If you don’t know Dave and Quin Cheung you are really missing out on life! These two have enough energy and good vibes to power a nation and we are blessed to call them friends! Aside from being insanely creative …

Read more

Letter to our UPS Man

  Dear UPS Man, When we opened our doors in the Fall of 2007, you were our lifeline. Eagerly we awaited your arrival each morning, bringing us boxes of hard drives. In the afternoon, there was the daily scramble to …

Read more

Speed Culling!

  Hey friends! Let’s face it… every image you download to your hard drive is another image you’re probably going to cut. Most people say they shoot around 2500 images at any given wedding and deliver around 700 images to …

Read more

Small DNG Lightroom Export Template

  The response we’ve had to the magical Small DNG process (aka The DNG Hack) has been amazing! Clients are reporting that uploading 1000 images takes less than an hour- a process that used to take days. To make your life …

Read more

More Pages